A couple of years ago (late 2013), I had occasion to be in China visiting my in-laws. We took a bus tour to some famous Buddhist temple complex about
a day's bus-ride away along the coast from Shanghai. I don't recall the name of the destination, but what did strike me was what I noticed on the
bus-ride down and then back a couple of days later.
China seemed to be investing heavily in constructing nuclear power plants. The construction is fairly obvious. If you see something that looks just
like a stereotypical containment dome, in some cases with stereotypical cooling-towers next too it ... I assume it is a nuclear power-plant. These
seemed like little "Three Mile Islands". Most seemed to be single containment building sites, but some appeared to have multiple.
I must have seen about a dozen different plants going-up. They seemed to be building them adjacent to existing coal-fired power-plants. I can see
that being an obvious place to consider putting-in any type of power-plant - so as to make use of the existing power-lines to put it onto the grid,
One down-side I see, is that all these existing power-plants were along various rivers, just up-stream form the coast, or right on the river delta
banks themselves. The prior coal-fired plants I hypothesize were built there, so that it would be easy to bring coal to them via water route (barge,
ship, whatever). It occurs to me that, given whatever happened with Tsunami in Japan bringing-about the Fukushima melt-downs, that these are probably
NOT good locations for nuclear power-plants.
My second concern, comes from a conversation I had with my brother-in-law (Chinese immigrant to the US), regarding construction methods in China right
now. We were talking about the house across the street from his (in the US), where his new neighbors had put in a new concrete-block
privacy/retaining wall around their side/back-yard. When it was put in, they trenched the area to pour solid concrete footings with re-bar inside
(and the ends of some re-bar sticking-up), left those for several days to cure properly, then came back and slowly over a couple of weeks added rows
of concrete block with re-bar within, etc. The whole process seemed to be spread over maybe three weeks. What surprised me, is that he said in
China, they would have done that whole process in 3-4 days and just ignored the long-term implications of not doing things "right". Apparently, in
China in areas where they are building more infrastructure, they have a reputation for building quickly, not safely and not really building "to
Combining that attitude to construction, with building-out a large infrastructure of nuclear power-plants in tsunami-vulnerable areas - does not sound
like and ideal situation.
I read something online today about Japan shooting to really convert largely to solar power (which seemed like a fantasy to me, until I read about
advances in battery technology like Tesla's new batter initiative). China seems to be in a hurry to convert from coal to something else. I can not
blame them, given how horrible the air quality is there (which I have seen / experienced myself). However, maybe they picked the wrong energy
"destination" and should have skipped-over nuclear.
Anyway, hope I am wrong about the vulnerability of these new nuclear plants. One Fukushima was enough (for the world), several more would be
edit on 2015-5-9 by EnhancedInterrogator because: More specific on travel / observation time (Late 3013)